Paul Mannion is standing as a Labour candidate for Broxbourne Borough Council. He opposes the developments at Pound Close and High Leigh
When and why did you join the Labour party?
I joined the party in 2007 because I saw Labour as the best vehicle for the vast majority of the population to have its interests represented in parliament. Before joining I had been critical of the last Labour government but I come to see that, as well as some errors, it made a number of positive contributions that had been opposed by the Conservatives. Namely: the National Minimum Wage, the increased spending on health and education, Surestart, the Educational Maintenance Allowance, the Minimum Income Guarantee for pensioners and the rights for workers introduced in the Trade Relations Act.
Much of this would not have been possible without electing a Labour government. And indeed, all these policies have all come under attack, in one way or another, since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition came to power.
Why do we need a Labour government to be elected on 7 May 2015?
It is important because I believe the vast majority of the population has become more and more unhappy with the neoliberal economic policies implemented over the last 30 years or so. The current Labour leadership has recognised this and have moved in the same direction as the country. So we have good policies to cut taxes on lower and middle income workers via the restoration of the 10% starting rate of income tax, alongside the view that the very highest earners should contribute a bit more through the restoration of the top rate 50%.
There are policies to intervene in failing markets like the railways and the energy companies. There are policies to begin to deal with the dysfunctional housing market. On the Labour market, there is an understanding that the minimum wage has often become the maximum wage in a great many instances and that something has to be done to boost the incomes of working people. On this front, Labour's plan to encourage the Living Wage and increase the minimum wage are among the key policies of the upcoming campaign.